Democratic Assembly candidate Dennis Tarantino, a lawyer from Glens Falls, says he wants to give voters a clear choice in this fall's election.
Meanwhile, a group of Republican town supervisors from Essex County has endorsed Dan Stec in the race for New York's new 114th Assembly District.
Both men are vying to replace Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, a Willsboro Republican who will step down at year's end to spend more time with her family.
'A clear choice'
Tarantino held a press conference in Glens Falls on Monday to officially announce his candidacy. In a phone interview with the Enterprise on Tuesday, he said he can make an immediate impact in Albany.
"I'm hoping the district will accept someone kind of from the outside, a business kind of guy, and I think if they take a hard look at the candidates, I should win the race," Tarantino said. "I have the optimism that I can convince the voters that I'm the right person for Albany."
Tarantino is owner of Maple Abstract and Realty Corporation and sole proprietor of the Kenneally and Tarantino law firm, both of which are located in Glens Falls. He lost to Sayward in 2004's Assembly race.
Tarantino said he wants to give voters a "clear choice" in November. He noted that one of the early favorites for the Democratic nomination, Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas, is similar to Stec: both are town supervisors, and both chair their respective county boards.
"A candidate likes myself, who is not coming from public service, raises the first question: I'm a private-sector businessman, I'm a professional," Tarantino said. "My opponent is like a Randy Douglas - who by the way I thought would have made a great candidate - but that's apples and apples. I'm apples and oranges. I'm a whole different approach to Albany. I take a hard look at Albany. I come in as an outsider."
Support for Stec
Stec continued his local government tour on Monday, sitting in on the Essex County Board of Supervisor's Ways and Means Committee meeting in Elizabethtown. After the meeting, Republican members of the county board gathered outside the courthouse to endorse Stec's Assembly bid.
St. Armand town Supervisor Joyce Morency said Stec is a strong, conservative Republican and a good family man.
"I think he's going to do a great job," Morency said. "I think he's going to take care of Essex County; he's going to remember us. He's been here a lot: to all the meetings and to other events. He really cares about the people. I'm really enthusiastic; I know he's going to do a great job. I haven't got one doubt in my mind."
Roby Politi, supervisor of the town of North Elba, noted that Stec, like Sayward, has a local government background. Politi said that's a good perspective to have in Albany.
"He understands all of the issues which affect local government and county government," he said. "He's always available and on top of the things we need to address."
Stec, who chairs the Warren County Board of Supervisors, has been endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties, but he said the support he's received from Republican town supervisors in Essex and Warren counties is just as important.
"As a town supervisor myself, these are people that professionally I have a lot in common with," Stec said. "We have a lot of similarities in our issues, what we do - our jobs have a lot of overlap. We know what it's like to walk in each others' shoes.
"As peers, it means a lot to me to have my peers in Warren County, Essex County, really acknowledge that, 'Hey, this is somebody that we think knows us and can bring our issues forward to Albany.'"
Sayward currently represents the 113th Assembly District, which will become the 114th District next year, shedding Hamilton County and picking up parts of Saratoga and Washington counties.